According to figures published by the FAO in 2019, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger increased over the prior four years. While most of the world’s people continue to live in Asia, much of the increase in hunger since 2015 occurred in Africa and South America. The FAO’s 2019 report found a strong correlation between increases in hunger and countries that had suffered an economic slowdown.
About Hunger in brief
In the field of hunger relief, the term hunger is used in a sense that goes beyond the common desire for food that all humans experience. According to figures published by the FAO in 2019, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger increased over the prior four years. While most of the world’s people continue to live in Asia, much of the increase in hunger since 2015 occurred in Africa and South America. The FAO’s 2019 report found a strong correlation between increases in hunger and countries that had suffered an economic slowdown. An alternative measure of hunger across the world is the Global Hunger Index. The GHI measures progress and failures in the global fight against hunger. The 2019 report was joint authored by four other UN agencies: the WFP, IFAD, WHO and UNICEF. The GDI is a multidimensional statistical tool used to describe the state of countries’ hunger situation. It is updated once a year from the data from the 2015 report. It provides a statistical overview on the prevalence of hunger around the world, and is widely considered the main global reference for tracking hunger. No simple set of statistics can ever fully capture the multi dimensional nature of hunger however. Some use a broader definition that overlaps more fully with malnutrition. The alternative definitions do however tend to go beyond the commonly understood meaning of hunger as a painful or uncomfortable motivational condition. The hunger relief efforts are coordinated by the UN and geared towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of ‘zero hunger’ by 2030. The organizations range from multilateral institutions to national governments, to small local initiatives such as independent soup kitchens.
Many participate in umbrella networks that connect thousands of different hunger relief organizations. Some of these organizations are dedicated to hunger relief while others may work several different fields. The UN’s FAO measurement, which is typically referred to as chronic undernourishment, is typically used by those studying or working to relieve hunger. Very low food supply can be described as ‘food insecure with hunger.’ A change in description was made in 2006 at the recommendation of the Committee on National Statistics in order to distinguish the physiological state of hunger from indicators of food availability. Food security statistics is measured by using survey data, based on household responses to items about whether the household was able to obtain enough food to meet their needs. The 2018 report focused on extreme weather as a primary driver of the increased in hunger, finding rising rates to be especially severe in countries where agricultural systems were most sensitive to extreme weather variations. It found rising rates of hunger in countries with agricultural systems that had been affected by climate change were especially severe. It also found that food security statistics are not always available to reflect them in the short-term. Many people would not count as hungry by FAO statistics, as they might still be eating hard manual labour, which might be the only sort of work available to them at the time. This is the only way to measure hunger in a way that goes above and beyond raw calorie intake.